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The Community 
Resource Kit 



Guidance for people setting up and 
running community organisations 





www.dia.govt.nz 



Te Tari Taiwhenua 



Section 8 



Record-keeping 



THE COMMUNITY RESOURCE KIT 



Section 1 


Getting started 


Section 2 


Planning 


Section 3 


Organisational structures 


Section 4 


Governance 


Section 5 


Policies 


Section 6 


Meetings 


Section 7 


Financial management 


Section 8 


Record-keeping 


Section 9 


Raising funds 


Section 10: Employment 


Section 1 1 : Communications 


Section 12: Information technology 



CONTENTS (SECTION 8) 



Organising your records 

What is a record? 
Start at the start 
Classifications of records 
Records to keep 

Checklist of records to keep 
Records you must keep by law 
Historical records/archives 
Keeping records on computer 

Organising your filing system 

Good filing systems 
Filing equipment 
Filing location 

Checklist for establishing a filing system 
Checklist for maintaining your systems 



Keeping information safe and private 

Information safety 

Avoiding slow destruction 
Protecting against disaster 
Disaster protection checklist 
Information privacy 

Privacy Act 1 993 
Information privacy checklist 



9 



Where to go for more information 

Online resources 
Other resources 



Organising your records 

NB: Your organisation or group is required by law to keep 
accurate records some for seven years. 

Keeping good records helps you manage your organisation effectively and efficiently, and 
helps you make sound decisions. Deciding how to keep and maintain records, and who has 
access to them, is important if an organisation is to function well. 

Keeping accurate and up-to-date records: 

• allows you to control your finances better i.e. up-to-date records help to determine if your 
group is making enough money to cover its expenses 

provides evidence of whether your organisation is being run well, which may help to judge 
how well you are performing generally 

makes it easier for potential funders to know whether to fund your group or project 
makes filing tax returns (and GST returns) easier and quicker 
keep your organisation within the law by maintaining accurate records 
means accounting and any audits will take less time. 

What is a record? 

A record is any information that's written or entered on paper, computer or other media. It 
includes information that you either must by law keep, or want to keep for a period. 

Start at the start 

As soon as you form your group, you should start keeping records. It is much better to keep 
accurate records as you go, rather than trying to work backwards at a later date. When 
you draw up your organisation's founding policies, create a record-keeping or document 
management policy. 



Tip: For more information on policies, see Archives New Zealand's Guide to Developing 
a Recordkeeping Policy, available at: http://continuum.archives.govt.nz/recordkeeping- 
publications.html 



Decide how you are going to store your records. You can use an electronic filing system 
on a computer or a paper-based system. Whatever the system is, it should be reliable, 
accurate, secure and easy to use. If it is a computer-based record system you must have 
secure back-up of your files (see Chapter 1 2 - Information Technology). It is good business 
practice to keep hard copies of invoices, faxes, emails, and other material that is also stored 
on your organisation's computer system. In some circumstances, keeping physical records 
is also required by law. 

Classifications of records 

There is a wide variety of records that an organisation should keep — you need to keep 
enough records to calculate your income and expenses and to confirm your accounts. 

The following is a guide to suggested categories of records that you may need to keep, 
together with examples of each. This list can be used to form the basis of a filing system, 
however it isn't intended to be a complete or mandatory list - what you keep in the end 
partly depends on the type and size of your organisation. Be aware that there are records 
you must keep by law (see Records you must keep by law). 



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Section 8: Record-keeping 1 



Governance records: 

• constitutional records (constitution/trust deed) 
board/trust/committee documents 
minutes of meetings 

annual reports 

• annual accounts (signed copies) 
planning documents 

governance policies (and policy development documents). 

Premises/assets records: 

premises leases 

equipment leases, warranties and other documents 

insurances. 

Financial records: 

invoices 
cheque books 

• bank statements 
budgets 

loan agreements 

• monthly and year end accounts 

• treasurer and auditor reports. 

Funding records: 

funding calendar 

copies of applications and accountability reporting 

contracts for services (by funder and contract). 

Employment records (for paid workers and volunteers): 

job descriptions 

recruitment records (note privacy requirements to not keep records too long) 

• time and wage records (including holiday records) 

• health and safety records 
performance management records. 

Note the privacy requirements for employment records. 

Operational records: 

operational plans 

operational policies — office management, communications plans, marketing plans, etc 

programme/project records (separate files for each significant programme or project) 

client records and plans (note the privacy requirements for personal records) 

correspondence (regularly review what is on file to dispose of unnecessary items) 

details of lobbying/advocacy including submissions 

media and press clippings. 



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Records to keep 

Community groups, as other organisations, need to have clear policies about what 
documents and records they should keep, and what to dispose. 

Checklist of records to keep 

Records that must be kept include: 

♦ the constitution/trust deed and information about setting up the organisation 

all the valuable information you have that helps to run your organisation e.g. mortgages, 
contracts 

* information about what is currently happening in or with or for your organisation 
information you are required by law to keep for a period of years (see below) 
information you want and need to keep for reference including historical information 
plans, letters, photos, videos, reports and stories about your organisation. 



Tip: For more information on the records you should keep, see the Inland Revenue 
booklet IR323: Record-keeping. Available from: http://www.ird.govt.nz/ 



Records you must keep by law 

This table sets out the records you are required to keep under certain legislation and the 
minimum length of time these records must be kept for (retention periods). 



Records 


Retention Details 


Legislation 


Business (financial) records 


Retain for seven years 


Tax Administration Act 


including: 


after the end of the year to 


1994 


books of account (whether 


which they relate 


Goods and Services Tax 


manual or electronic) 


Keep the records in safe 


Act 1 985 


• bank statements, vouchers, 
receipts, invoices and tax 
invoices, and payment details 


custody 
Permanently 


Companies Act 1993 
Not specified but good 


details of assets and liabilities 




practice 


details of services provided and 






invoices raised 






details of tax returns - including 






signed manual copies of 






electronic returns. 






Annual accounts and audit 






reports (if applicable). 







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Section 8: Record-keeping 3 



Employment records: 

wages and PAYE tax records 

(including KiwiSaver deductions 

and employer contributions) 

wages and employee time 

records 

holiday pay records and 

entitlements 

accident and serious harm 

register. 


seven years 
six years 
six years 
Not specified 


Tax Administration Act 
1994 

(KiwiSaver Act 2006) 

Employment Relations Act 
2000/Minimum Wages Act 
1983 

Holidays Act 2003 

Health & Safety in 
Employment Act 1992 


Vehicle mileage records/log 
books 


seven years 


Income Tax Act 2004 


Charitable (tax-exempt) 
organisations need to keep 
records of donations received 
and how the funds have been 
spent 


seven years 


Tax Administration Act 
1994 


constitution 
• share register (for a company) - 
register of members 


Permanently 


Companies Act 1993 (but 
this should guide other 
entities) 


minutes of general meetings 
minutes of directors' meetings 

• annual reports 

• trustee, board or committee 
records for other organisations. 


seven years 


Companies Act 1 993 (but 
this should guide other 
entities) 



Remember that the records need to be kept: 

» in English unless specifically approved otherwise 
in written form or in a form that is easily accessible and can be converted to written form. 



Tip: The information in this table may change if the legislation changes. Do not rely on it 
as legal advice. For more information on record-keeping legislation, visit the Archives and 
Records Association of New Zealand (ARANZ) website: http://www.aranz.org.nz/Site/ 
resources/general/recordkeepingjegislation.aspx 



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Historical records/archives 

The list of records above gives a legal minimum period to keep certain records. You may 
want to keep some of them for longer periods, and there are others you may want to keep 
out of interest or for later reference. Some records you may want to keep for historical 
interest could include: 

annual plans 
mission statements 
• policies 
projects and programmes (all or selected) 
evaluation reports and media articles 
letters of appreciation, and 
minutes and meeting records. 

If your community organisation ceases to exist you should consider having your records 
stored. For more information, see the National Library's Managing & Preserving 
Community Archives booklet, available free from: http://www.natlib.govt.nz/services/get- 
advice/preservation/preservation-help 

Keeping records on computer 

Computers and systems can fail resulting in your organisation losing important documents. 
Establish a regular maintenance programme to ensure the safe-keeping of your electronic 
records which must be retrievable and readable at all times. For more information see 
Section 12 - Information Technology. 



Tip: Keep a paper copy of all important records and regularly back up all electronic 
documents. 



Organising your filing system 



Good filing systems 

For your organisation to function well, it's essential to have an effective and efficient filing 
system. 

A good filing system is: 

easy to understand and use 

a suitable size for the available space 

accessible to all who are authorised to use it 

able to keep the records safe and in good condition, and 

able to keep the records secure to fit with the provisions of the Privacy Act 1 993 (see later). 

Filing equipment 

Filing equipment you may choose to use includes: 

• box files 

• computer files 

filing cabinets (lockable) 

ring binder folders 

manila or colour-coded folders, and 

filing baskets. 



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Filing location 

For larger organisations with a lot of information, there are different ways of physically 
storing your paper-based records system. Storage can either be in one central place 
(centralised) or files can be kept in different locations (departmentalised), depending on 
the nature of the information e.g. accounts, projects, etc. Alternatively, you can use a 
combination of the two: workers keep files they use a lot in their own offices/rooms, but 
back-ups and less-used files have a central home. 

Checklist for establishing a filing system 

To establish your filing system: 

• divide your organisation's information into classifications (as per the earlier guidelines) 
create a file list of the divisions you've made 

use dividers for different subjects under that file 

• document the expected content of each file so people know where to put what 
decide on an appropriate filing system that keeps records in order e.g. file papers in 
chronological or date order, with the most recent papers on top or at the front 

• consider how you are going to protect your records from dirt, dust, fire, water, earthquake, 
humidity, sunlight, intruders, insects, rodents, etc, and 

make sure that the paper records match the electronic records. 



Tip: Most organisations will keep records both electronically and manually so it pays to 
set up your manual and computer filing systems with the same file headings. 



Checklist for maintaining your systems 

At least once a year, spend time on maintaining your records and filing systems by: 

removing out-of-date material (e.g. old newsletters from other organisations) 

disposing of any confidential information securely by either shredding documents or using a 

document disposal company 

sorting out and filing away historical material 

checking that the file divisions are still relevant (if necessary, consult a records management 

professional) 

undertaking an audit to ensure that the required information is kept in the expected place. 



Tip: For more ideas on organising your filing systems, see Organize Your Filing Systems: 
A Four-Step Formula That Really Works: http://www.womensmedia.com/work/190- 
organize-your-filing-systems-a-4-step-formula-that-really-works.html . 



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Section 8: Record-keeping 6 



Keeping information safe and private 

Information safety 

Information and records are vulnerable from slow destruction and from disaster. It's 
important to take active steps to protect your records from risk. 

Avoiding gradual destruction 

Some sources of damage are slow-acting or infrequent, but can still make information 
unusable. They include heat, humidity, light, computer security threats (viruses, malware, 
etc.) vermin (insects and rodents), damp and mould (which can adversely affect paper, 
disks, photos, slides and videos). 

You can reduce these risks by keeping records in folders, covers or boxes in clean, dry 
surroundings. Keep them off the floor, and away from: 

light 

• food 

cleaning supplies and other chemicals 

heaters and open flames 

water, heating and sewerage pipes. 

Ensure you: 

have fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and/or a sprinkler system in the records area 
keep your computer safe and your information secure - always back-up your data. 

• keep records in secure storage - in a safe if necessary. 

Protecting against disaster 

Some damage happens suddenly and unexpectedly. Examples include fire, flood, storm, 
earthquake, explosion, computer crash and power failure. Your group should have a 
disaster recovery plan for records. 

Disaster protection checklist 

You can help protect your records from being damaged in a disaster by: 

duplicating information and keeping hard copies 

by having backups of your computer records (see Section 12 - Information technology) 

keeping important originals (e.g. leases, bonds, etc.) at the bank, with the lawyer, or in a 

fireproof safe 

keeping photocopies of important records at home or another office (e.g. creditors, 

insurance) 

knowing where to find experts who can help in the event of disaster. There are experts 

in this field called 'conservators', and most computer firms have expertise in recovering 

computer records. 



Tip: For more information on disaster protection, visit: http://biztaxlaw.about.com/od/ 
businessaccountingrecords/tp/bef oreafterdisaster.htm . 



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Section 8: Record-keeping 7 



Information privacy 

Some information - like client records and personal staff files - should not be accessible to 
everybody in the organisation. 

Privacy Act 1 993 

The Privacy Act 1993 and associated principles govern the way community groups need to 
keep information private. It also gives a guide to sharing information with others. The Act is 
based on 12 privacy principles. These set out broad rules (together with limited exceptions) 
relating to the collection, storage, security, accuracy, use and disclosure of personal 
information, as well as an individual's rights to access and correct personal information. 

The Privacy Act applies only to 'personal information' about an identifiable individual. 
It does not apply to information about organisations, companies or other bodies. 
http://privacy.org.nz/ 

Information privacy checklist 

To ensure privacy of information: 

• have a procedure that identifies records that are sensitive and make sure authorised staff 
know they are sensitive 

have a 'clear desk' policy for sensitive records - put records away promptly 

• be aware of physical security and lock records away when not in use 

take care when disposing of confidential records - they should be shredded or disposed of 

securely (an option for larger organisations) 

develop a confidentiality policy 

do not leave records where an unauthorised person can read them or steal them 

keep records in their covers, folders or boxes 

do not take records home 

make a note of who took them if records are taken from where they are normally kept, 

including when they were taken and when returned 

protect sensitive computer-based information with passwords, and 

• do not keep personal information longer than required - either by law or for the purpose for 
which it was obtained. 



Tip: For more information about your rights and obligations under the Privacy Act 1993, 
visit the Office of the Privacy Commissioner website: http://www.privacy.org.nz . The 
Office also holds workshops and training programmes to help agencies comply with the 
Act or codes. Also see Keeping it Legal - E Ai Ki Te Ture - http://keepingitlegal.net.nz/ 
learn-more/privacy/ 



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Section 8: Record-keeping 8 



Where to go for more information 

Online resources 

1 . Inland Revenue Department - http://www.ird.govt.nz/ . A wide range of 
information about keeping records (both manually and electronically), including 
IR323: Record-keeping. 

2. Archives New Zealand's Record-keeping Publications - http://continuum. archives, 
govt. nz/recordkeeping-publications. html . A collection of fact sheets, guides, standards, 
forms and templates for government departments, but also useful to community 
organisations. 

3. Archives and Records Association of New Zealand (ARANZ) - http://www.aranz.org. 
nz . Information and resources related to information management. 

4. What you need to know about record-keeping - http://www.mcleanandco.co.nz/ 
Page140.htm . Record- keeping information from Chartered Accountants, McLean 
and Co. 

5. Department of Labour's Infozone - http://www.dol.govt.nz/infozone/ 
businessessentials/employ/record-keeping/ . Record-keeping requirements for 
employees' holiday and leave, and wage and time records. 

6. Office of the Privacy Commissioner - http://www.privacy.org.nz . Information and 
resources on rights and obligations under the Privacy Act. 

7. Keeping it Legal - E Ai Ki Te Ture - www.keepingitlegal.net.nz . Information on the 
Privacy Act 1993 and the obligations it imposes on organisations. 

8. Record-Keeping for Non-Profit Organizations - Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and 
Rural Affairs (Canada) - http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/rural/facts/08-059.htm . 
A handy factsheet on good record-keeping practices. 

9. Record-Keeping - INC. A Guide for Incorporated Associations in Western Australia 
- http://www.commerce.wa.gov.aU/associationsguide/Content/05_Records/5.0_ 
Record_Keeping.htm . Record-keeping information that will be useful to NZ community 
organisations (note: the legal requirements do not apply to NZ) 

Other resources 

1 . The Treasurer's Resource Manual, North Shore Community and Social Services 
Inc. Includes a section on financial record-keeping. See: http://www.nscss.org.nz/ 
publications/resources . 

2. Role of Secretary, North Shore Community and Social Services Inc. Includes 
information on Privacy Act requirements. See: http://www.nscss.org.nz/publications/ 
resources . 



Community Resource Kit Section 8: Record-keeping 9